She is someone whose smile is something that her fans have been treasuring ever since she exclaimed Dil Diya Hai after having boarded The Train. She is Geeta Basra, an NRI from England who took no time in taking to Bollywood. Even though she is merely two films old, she is already on the wish list of many Bollywood biggies! She has also got featured recently in the globally smash-hit video 'Ghum Sum Ghum Sum' sung by Sukhshinder Shinda and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. We caught up with this actress and came back pretty impressed with her innocence, sincerity and dedication towards her work, which, eventually are the major requisites to make it big in the tinsel town. Over to Geeta...
Geeta, to start with, not many people know that you are one of the most intellectual actresses in Bollywood, as you have done your 'A' level education plus 'almost' a degree in criminal psychology.
I always wanted to get into the world of showbiz, and that's why here I am, enjoying every moment of it. As you said it, it was an 'almost' degree in criminal psychology as I thought that let me first try my hand in showbiz and then, if the need be, carry on with the academics. The best part is that my parents were quite supportive of my decision. I even had braces on during my 'settling period' in Mumbai, which got me 'stuck' from doing any thing anyways (laughs).
Your debut film Dil Diya Hai didn't quite work at the box-office. So, did that failure affect your career in anyway?
I won't say it 'affected' my film career because, when the promos were on air, it did have a high buzz around me and even the 'curiosity quotient' was pretty towering. Since I was a newcomer then, I wasn't aware as to how much publicity and promotion meant for an actor, since I was under the impression that its the producer who will take care of all this. Also, when my film was getting released, we had a mega monstrous film Lage Raho Munnabhai which got released simultaneously, thus affecting the business of our film in a big way. I realised it a bit later that when you have a film of Munnabhai's caliber, you can't even think of competing against it. Having said that, let me also tell you that I am not a person who will simply sit and cry over spilt milk. Irrespective of whether my debut film was a hit or a disaster, I was confident of the fact that I was not the first or the last actress to see a failure.
Many such emotions and sentiments made me feel that I should work really hard to get there. I took a gap of one and a half years after the release of The Train, but then, that was really something that I wanted to do. In other words, as they say it was a 'conscious effort'. I had many offers after The Train got released. After that, I started questioning myself asking that are these going to make any difference in my career? I waited and waited, and now, finally, the patience is paying off its dividends and how!
Now the super actress Geeta Basra is back with a big bang with a Sufi music video with UK's sensational Sukhshinder Shinda.
Yes, it is true that I have done a Sufi video with him. But, I am not going to brag about the video, except that I can tell you that it's doing fantastic all over.
Geeta, considering the fact that it's already the No.1 on the international charts, you have every reason to brag about.
(Laughs) Thank you so much. I am highly flattered!
How did you bag this video?
It's surely a number that one does not get to see often and it's also one of the most expensive videos to be picturised in recent times. The cost of its making ranged around a whopping Rs. 30 lakhs. Each of my outfit cost around Rs. 2 lakhs. The DoP was the renowned Kabir Lal. We recreated an entire Jaipur-like palace, so much so that one just couldn't differentiate the real palace from this one! In other words, we refused to compromise anywhere in terms of quality. And the song itself is a unique one, as it's collaboration between Rahat Fateh Ali khan and Sukhshinder Shinda. The directors of this video (Lovel and Ajay Arora) are my good friends. Hence, when they heard the song, they immediately called me and said, "Geeta, we think that we have finally found the face that we have been looking for. And we are sure that only you can do justice to the song".
Wow...sounds interesting. Can you give us some more details about the video...
The song has a certain feel of sadness to it, but, gradually, it gets translated into a happy ending. The music video has been directed by Colossus (the outfit run by Ajay and Lovel Arora), the video is picturised on me and the well-known model named Rahul Bhatt (who played the lead role in the famous TV serial 'Heena'). If you observe closely, you will find that Rahul permanently features in all their videos, because he is their lucky mascot! And trust me guys; this guy is great on camera! As far as the conceptualization of the music video is concerned, it's a love story in which I play the lover who is waiting for my loved one, who initially leaves me and then, eventually comes back. The icing on the cake are the two very versatile singers Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Sukhshinder Shinda. While the former is a big name here, the latter is a very well-known UK based Bhangra producer and artist and who has worked on over a whopping 200 albums!
You have also done an ad for the world famous Gitanjali jewelers. Can you share some more details of the same?
I have been involved with Gitanjali Jewellery since the time of Dil Diya Hai, since they were promoting the movie. And I guess that they saw some potential in me, so, they signed me last year as their Brand Ambassador. I have recently shot an ad with them for Laxmi whereby we are promoting gold coins. The ad has me welcoming Goddess Laxmi in our homes. I am really very happy and satisfied with the way the ad has shaped up, especially because, it has shown me in my Indian look, something that lots of people have time and again, compliment me with.
News also has it that you have shot for a vest ad with Sunny Deol. Can you tell us something more about it?
Yeah. The brand you are referring to is 'Lux Cozi'. To tell you the very fact, when this ad was offered to me, I was very reluctant initially because a girl doing a vest ad was not gelling with my system. But trust me; the way the entire commercial has shaped up is totally awesome. Even though majority of the superstars like Hrithik, Salman have also been endorsing various brands of vests, what really impressed me about this ad was its mint-fresh concept. It has me as a quintessential Punjabi kudi in the fields and I am touted as the surprise element of the ad!
You also underwent a surgery last year. Hope all is well now.
What happened was that I dropped a dumbbell on my foot, which resulted in the hemline ligament tear and bruising of my toe. I really don't know how it happened, but it just happened. Today, I simply shrug the incident by saying that it was a bad time of my life. Thanks to all the prayers and good wishes of my fans, I am feeling much better now.
Any dream role on your wish-list?
There are two. One is Pakeezah and the second one is Dil Toh Pagal Hai. I simply love and ogle at these films everytime I see them. I totally admire both these films.
What are your upcoming films?
I have signed two big films. But due to the recession, the films have got postponed. I am a slightly superstitious to talk about these films as they are really very big movies. They are the kind of movies that I always wanted to be a part of, and are being directed by people with whom I always wanted to work with. All that I can say is that while one is a solo-heroine project, the other is two-heroine project. Besides this, I just cannot reveal anything more. And yes, hopefully, the next time you interview me; it will be on the sets of my new film.
Lastly, if you flip your pages of Geeta Basra's life a couple of years back, how did you react to the (by-now-almost-forgotten) Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh) episode?
I know that you were about to ask me this sooner or later (laughs). To tell you the fact, now that the dust has settled, I just want to leave it at that. All that I can say is that Bhajji is a very special person in my life and a very close friend. That's it. I really do not want to have a second round of stories cropping up.